As the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH) moves from the Ruthven Building to its new signature space in the Biological Sciences Building (BSB), so must its iconic mastodons. The mastodon skeletons are two major Museum of Paleontology specimens among 3.5 million moved to either the BSB on campus or the Research Museums Center, down the street about five miles from central campus.
The Owosso mastodon stood in the Ruthven Building for just over 70 years and along the way acquired a partner, the Buesching mastodon. In that time, research and display in LSA’s Museum of Paleontology have matured, too. For example, staff artists in the UMMNH were known to replace gaps in physical mastodon fossils with hand-sculpted bones in the past. Now, they can digitally design and 3D print new ones.
Museum visitors can look forward to a spring opening of the UMMNH in its new BSB home, where mastodons and exhibits will be on view, with additional exhibits opening in the fall. In the meantime, here’s a peek at what researchers in the Museum of Paleontology have been up to behind the scenes.
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Video by Natalie Condon, Elizabeth DeCamp, and Levi Stroud. Images by Julia Lubas.